Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Key to better health care may be a walk in the park

Date:
February 10, 2011
Source:
Penn State
Summary:
The payoff for investing in public parks and recreation sites may be healthier, more physically fit residents and a less strained health-care system, according to researchers.

The payoff for investing in public parks and recreation sites may be healthier, more physically fit residents and a less strained healthcare system, according to Penn State researchers.

Investments in parks and recreational services have a dramatic effect on health and fitness, say Geof Godbey, professor emeritus of leisure studies, and Andrew Mowen, associate professor of recreation and parks management.

"There is a strong relationship between how much money is spent to provide such services and the amount of physical activity that people take part in," said Godbey. "You get what you pay for."

In one study cited in the report prepared by the researchers for the National Recreation and Park Association, spending an extra $10 per person on park and recreational facilities provided more vigorous exercise for girls and better strength-building for both sexes.

"As the study points out, for just an additional $10, that money provides a significant increase in the amount of exercise you can get," said Godbey. "What would a health club provide for that same $10?"

The number of parks and playgrounds in a community can also raise the fitness level of residents. For example, one study found that there was an increase of 17 more minutes of physical activity for each park within a half mile of a home.

In addition, studies have shown that the closer parks and recreational sites are to where people live, the more people use them and the more physically active they are.

Access to public parks promotes increased physical activity for nearly all age groups. About 85 percent of middle-aged and older participants surveyed in a five-city study said they visited a local park within the last year. The same survey indicated that 40 percent of those people go to the park more than once a week, a sign that park use was embedded into their lifestyle.

"Park use becomes more deeply ingrained in users and quickly becomes part of their lives," said Godbey. "People are being active and having fun for the sake of having fun, not as a health outcome, which, to them, is just an added benefit."

Godbey said that losing access to parks might cause unhealthy behavior.

"The physical benefits of park and recreation access are sort of obvious, but we have to look at the reverse," said Godbey. "If people aren't going to parks, what would they be doing with that time? Would they be sitting around at home, drinking a few beers, eating cheese puffs, and watching reruns on television?"

Since government officials often cut park and recreation spending first, Mowen said that park and recreational professionals could use the evidence presented in this report to educate officials and residents on the relatively inexpensive health benefits provided by parks.

"Most people, especially elected officials, consider park and recreational services as an amenity or as discretionary spending," said Mowen. "These studies argue that park and recreational facilities are part of the health care system, or should be."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Penn State. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Penn State. "Key to better health care may be a walk in the park." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 February 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110209164011.htm>.
Penn State. (2011, February 10). Key to better health care may be a walk in the park. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110209164011.htm
Penn State. "Key to better health care may be a walk in the park." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110209164011.htm (accessed September 30, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

How 'Yes Means Yes' Defines Sexual Assault

How 'Yes Means Yes' Defines Sexual Assault

Newsy (Sep. 29, 2014) Aimed at reducing sexual assaults on college campuses, California has adopted a new law changing the standard of consent for sexual activity. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists May Have Found An Early Sign Of Pancreatic Cancer

Scientists May Have Found An Early Sign Of Pancreatic Cancer

Newsy (Sep. 29, 2014) Researchers looked at 1,500 blood samples and determined people who developed pancreatic cancer had more branched chain amino acids. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Colo. Doctors See Cluster of Enterovirus Cases

Colo. Doctors See Cluster of Enterovirus Cases

AP (Sep. 29, 2014) Doctors at the Children's Hospital of Colorado say they have treated over 4,000 children with serious respiratory illnesses since August. Nine of the patients have shown distinct neurological symptoms, including limb weakness. (Sept. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dr.'s Unsure of Cause of Fast-Spreading Virus

Dr.'s Unsure of Cause of Fast-Spreading Virus

AP (Sep. 29, 2014) Doctors at the Children's Hospital of Colorado say they have treated over 4,000 children with serious respiratory illnesses since August. Nine of the patients have shown distinct neurological symptoms, including limb weakness. (Sept. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins